Saturday, August 11, 2012
Notes, quotes: Freshman RB shines
By Sam Khan Jr.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Defensive players across the Houston area and the state of Texas got a taste of how difficult it was to tackle Trey Williams when he starred at Spring (Texas) Dekaney, rushing for 8,110 yards and 86 touchdowns in his high school career.
Saturday, in Texas A&M's first full scrimmage of fall training camp, the Aggies defenders got a dose of what Williams made life like for opponents the last four years.
The true freshman running back exploded for 136 rushing yards and three touchdowns on nine carries, including a 75-yard touchdown run, using his speed and agility to not only elude defenders but to provide oohs and ahhs to the onlooking crowd at Kyle Field on Saturday.
"He's been doing that all camp, making people miss," coach Kevin Sumlin said. "He's got wire-to-wire speed to go with that. He's a good player."
While Williams provided the biggest highlights of the day during Saturday's scrimmage, there is plenty of other takeaways. Among them:
• The quarterback battle is still wide open. Sumlin said it before fall training camp, even though many presumed that redshirt sophomore Jameill Showers would eventually win the job. During Saturday's scrimmage, redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel and redshirt sophomore Matt Joeckel both shined, moving the offense down the field with success. Joeckel led six touchdown drives and Manziel led four. Showers had some struggles when it came to moving the offense, engineering only a pair of touchdown drives in seven tries.
Sumlin said afterward that he could name a starter as late as next weekend.
"You need to evaluate all three," he said. "That's why it's open. I've got to go back and look at where they are through their reads and progressions, how they're doing, how they're getting the ball out. We mixed them up with different lines with the first and second lines and try to give them a shot and so we'll see. The evaluation is ongoing. The good news is we didn't throw the ball to the defense a bunch out of all those snaps."
• True freshman cornerback De'Vante Harris worked extensively with the first-team defense. The Mesquite (Texas) Horn product was an Under Armour All-American in high school and is among a handful of young defensive backs who could see playing time -- and are athletic but are inexperienced.
"That's where he is right now," Sumlin said. "And it also speaks to the lack of production by some of the other guys."
• With the Aggies learning the up-tempo offensive attack that Sumlin and offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury employed at Houston, there have been some growing pains. Among those on Saturday was the tempo. Sumlin didn't feel that the offense moved as quickly as he would like.
While the quarterbacks are vital in that endeavor, the biggest role in dictating tempo might be played by center Patrick Lewis.
"We can be better from a tempo standpoint," Sumlin said. "We're not pushing the ball as quickly as we need to. Pat's got to get used to setting the pace and setting the ball and beating the referee to the spot and getting guys lined up. And then we can be really, really effective offensively, particularly as the game goes on."
• While Trey Williams shined among the running backs, it's clear that the Aggies are talented as a group at that position. Senior Christine Michael, junior Ben Malena and sophomore Tra Carson (transfer from Oregon) all received carries also and were productive. Oklahoma transfer Brandon Williams sat out the scrimmage.
"I like all our backs," Sumlin said. "I think everybody sees the value that Tra Carson will bring to the table a year from now if he's 230-something pounds. He's a different guy. I thought Christine did some good things and ran well. We were able to run it out of some different sets.
"We've got a good group of running backs and for those of you that people didn't think we run the ball, you understand how we run it and how we utilize our running backs and that's the reason that we keep getting good ones."